2023 WNBA Odds, Picks, Predictions | Bet, Lean or Pass for Every Team’s Win Total Prop
Getty Images. Pictured: Brionna Jones, Aaria McDonald and Betnijah Laney.
The 2023 WNBA season has brought with it numerous new futures markets for bettors. This is amazing news, and there are bets to be made by the dozen.
As such, let’s take a trip around the W, handing out a Bet, Lean or Pass for each team’s win total for the 2023 season. As always, make sure to shop around. Four of the main sportsbooks currently have WNBA win total bets available, so I’ll be using those four (FanDuel, Caesars, DraftKings and BetRivers) and picking out the best lines for these bets just as you should make sure to do before pulling the trigger.
Team to Pass On
Phoenix Mercury (21.5)
The Mercury are, with good reason, the hardest team in the WNBA to read right now. Without even diving too deep into what to expect from Brittney Griner in her return to the W this season (in part because it feels callous, but also in part because we just have no way of knowing), there are question marks up and down the roster.
How long will Skylar Diggins-Smith be out on maternity leave? Will she even return to the Mercury when’s she ready to come back?! Is Shey Peddy really trying to return from a ruptured Achilles in less than a full offseason? Was that Sophie Cunningham breakout legitimate or just a result of the circumstances? How many more years does Diana Taurasi have in her?
Add it all together, and it’s my lone stay away.
The Pick: Stay away
Las Vegas Aces (29.5)
The Aces are coming off a title-winning debut season under head coach Becky Hammon. They finished 26-10 last season and with four extra games in the 2023 season (a key element to remember when looking at last year’s results to help guide this year’s bets), this number implies the team should be right around the same level in 2023.
Given that the team brought in Candace Parker and added Alysha Clark as some much-needed bench production this offseason, that would seem like an easy over, right? My biggest hesitancy is health. Last season, Aces starters missed a combined five games all season. Given that half of their top six players are now in their 30s, I’m not going to take that health luck as a certainty for 2023.
This is also a team that is going to care about one thing and one thing only: going back-to-back. If they have to rest starters to make sure they are fully fit to make another grind of a postseason run, they will not hesitate to do so.
As such, I still lean to the over, but it’s one of my softest leans.
The Lean: Over 29.5 Wins (-110, Caesars)
Washington Mystics (24.5)
This Mystics team is coming off a 22-14 season in which they were 18-7 with Elena Delle Donne and just 4-7 without her. So in a sense, it’s fair to read this over/under as a read on how you trust EDD’s health this season.
However, there’s a few reasons I see it as a bit more. For one, I think the addition of Brittney Sykes to fit between Natasha Cloud and Ariel Atkins in the starting lineup was one of the best under-the-radar moves this offseason. I also believe Shakira Austin in her second season is ready to take on more of an offensive role for the rare game or two that EDD has to miss.
But mostly, yes, this is a bet on EDD being as healthy as she has been since her MVP season (which is what the reports out of camp are saying). The team does also have some of the best depth to handle other potential injuries, but if EDD does miss a significant portion of the season, this will be a tough number to hit.
As such, this is a lean not a best bet.
The Lean: Over 24.5 Wins (-105, DraftKings)
Minnesota Lynx (17.5)
The Lynx are in an interesting spot. They are fresh off missing the postseason for the first time since 2010. That was a team, however, playing for the most part without their best player: Napheesa Collier. This is also a team coached by Cheryl Reeve, one of the greatest coaches of all time.
On the other hand, last year’s team had Sylvia Fowles, who retired in the offseason, and Reeve is a big picture coach who is by no means unaware of the talent coming through in the next two draft classes.
I also am very interested to see how Collier looks in 2023. By some of the more advanced metrics (win shares; on-off +/-), she was actually best in her rookie season—putting out a near MVP level of production. The next two seasons were still excellent, but not quite at that rookie season level. If she’s closer to that Top 20 level compared to the Top 5 level she flashed, this roster starts to look a lot more like one angling for a top pick than an above .500 record.
I love Collier and I think doubting her may prove a fool’s errand, so I’m making this under a lean not a best bet. I also don’t love the juice on the only under 17.5 remaining in the market.
The Lean: Under 17.5 Wins (-138, FanDuel)
Los Angeles Sparks (16.5)
The 2023 Sparks look about as different from the 2022 Sparks as any team looking back a season can. The team has a new front office (headed by Karen Bryant), a new head coach (Curt Miller) and almost an entirely new roster.
Unsurprisingly, there are questions galore for this team, as arguably no team has more potential players staying or getting cut this camp than the Sparks. Thankfully, the new regime in place has far more trust from me (and almost everyone else) than the previous regime.
If any coach was going to take a collection of pieces and get them playing their best basketball, Miller would have to be near the top of the pack. And there are pieces here. In Nneka Ogwumike, Miller has a certified superstar, but the options beyond Ogwumike are intriguing, too. Layshia Clarendon, Jordin Canada and Jasmine Thomas are an incredibly interesting trio of potential point guards, and Dearica Hamby is going to be out for blood after being mistreated by the Las Vegas Aces in the offseason.
Personally, I like a plus money bet on this team finding its way to the postseason more than their win total over as a way to bet on Miller, but I do lean to the over still. This is a team that may well take some time to gel, but could really get clicking by the end of the season and be a really pesky out in the postseason.
The Lean: Over 16.5 Wins (-105, FanDuel)
Chicago Sky (16.5)
If all these superteams formed in the offseason, then some teams must have lost elite players right? Well, look no further than the Chicago Sky. The Sky lost Candace Parker, Courtney Vandersloot, Allie Quigley and Emma Meesseman this offseason. That’s four of their five starters from last season’s squad.
Instead of fully leaning into rebuilding like a team we’ll touch on later, James Wade and the Sky decided to try to keep winning. The new starting lineup will likely include some big names (Courtney Williams and Marina Mabrey), alongside lesser known but still established players (like Isabelle Harrison and Elizabeth Williams).
However, this feels very much like a collection of pieces more than a cohesive roster. And while Wade has proven himself a top tier coach, I just am not sure the fit for what is a roster that will rely almost exclusively on Mabrey for their spacing, with a frontcourt rotation that is especially limited in terms of stretching the floor.
Kahleah Copper is still an outstanding player (the lone returning starter) who could potentially bring this team together and raise their ceiling, but when looking at team total futures, it’s important to weigh both the floor and the ceiling and where on that spectrum you think is most likely. And with this Sky team I lean to the under.
The Lean: Under 16.5 Wins (-110, DraftKings)
Indiana Fever (10.5)
Going under on the worst team in the league is a dangerous game, but I do like the under on the Fever for 2023.
They are coming off a 5-31 season in which they earned each and every one of those 31 losses according to their Pythagorean win-loss record. (This is based on the idea that the total points a team scores and allows over the course of a season is more predictive than their actual wins and losses).
As a result, they added the first pick in the draft and were able to get Aliyah Boston, the consensus top overall prospect. Boston is a very good player, but I’m not sure how much she is going to raise the Fever’s win total in just one season, for a couple reasons.
First, she is being added to a position of depth. In NaLyssa Smith and Queen Egbo, the Fever’s two first round picks last season, their frontcourt was arguably their biggest strength last year.
I also see Boston’s ideal WNBA fit as something like the second- or third-best player on a great team. She raises the team’s floor with a stout defensive presence and great work on the glass, but I don’t see her as the type to come in on day one and take her team to the playoffs in her rookie season.
This number is very low (there were 11.5’s in the market briefly), so that’s why this is a lean, but I do see the Fever failing to reach 11 wins this season.
The Lean: Under 10.5 Wins (-110, DraftKings)
New York Liberty (29.5)
OK, finally we are into the full recommended bets — the fun part of the article. And the Liberty sure are fun.
You know the names up top (Breanna Stewart, Jonquel Jones, Sabrina Ionescu, Courtney Vandersloot), but what makes this a best bet for me is those big names are combined with the deepest rotation in the league on this roster.
Betnijah Laney is going to be the most ridiculously overqualified fifth-best player on a team this season, but she is going to be perfect for it (Jackie Young will be up there too … this league is in a great spot). She is an elite defender and an outstanding spot-up shooter. Per Myles Ehrlich of Winsidr, she’s already been absolutely killing folks with weak side cuts off all the attention the bigger names are drawing.
Kayla Thornton is arguably the exact player you would draw up to be the sixth player on a team like this. She doesn’t need the ball to score but shoots efficiently. She is an elite defender and she can fit in with bigger personalities. Her addition was a massive part of their offseason.
Getting to the number seven and eight players in the rotation: Han Xu and Marine Johannes emerged last season as two fan favorites in New York. Xu is a 6-foot-10 (maybe 6-foot-11 this season) center who can shoot from everywhere, and Johannes is one of the best creative engines off the bench in the entire league.
Jocelyn Willoughby, Stefanie Dolson, and whoever the Liberty keep of their several options to round out this roster, may not even be in the playoff rotation. At the same time, any of them could easily slip into covering for players should injuries emerge throughout the season.
And that’s the real reason for the over as is. The top end talent is elite here, but the depth gives this season win total an incredibly high floor and makes it a best bet.
The Pick: Over 29.5 Wins (-115, Caesars)
Connecticut Sun (21.5)
The Sun over is my favorite bet of this whole article. This is a team that was, far and away, the best team by net rating in the W last season, and will have plenty of continuity for 2023.
Of course, arguably the biggest area of non-continuity is likely why this number is so low. Head coach Curt Miller moved to L.A. in the offseason, and the Sun now turn to Stephanie White as his replacement. White last coached in the league in 2016, so there will inevitably be a learning period as the players adjust to a new style.
This team also lost Jonquel Jones and Courtney Williams in the offseason, but I am less bothered by those losses. Jones was famously getting less minutes than Sixth Woman of the Year Brionna Jones in several postseason games last year, and Brionna Jones should thrive in her new spot in the starting lineup. As for the loss of Williams, the Sun brought in Tiffany Hayes, who can fill it up as well as anyone, so that loss should be mitigated as well.
The only real fear here is that this is a bit of an older team, and that Miller leaving could be a bigger loss than realized. But the bar is so low to clear this number (the Sun were the equivalent to a 32-win team last season by net rating and adjusted to 40 games), that it is still a best bet on the over.
The Pick: Over 21.5 Wins (+100, DraftKings)
Dallas Wings (20.5)
This is my first under in the best bets category. In some ways it is a bit of a zag, because this Wings team is coming off its third straight season with an improved record. They made the playoffs in 2022 for the second straight season, and in many ways the trajectory was upward at the end of last year.
However, they made a few moves this offseason that seemingly will set them back in 2023. In sending out Allisha Gray, Kayla Thornton and Marina Mabrey, they lost their top two players by win shares in 2022 and a player in Mabrey who was essential to stabilizing the team when Arike Ogunbowale was out.
To replace that trio, the Wings went with Diamond DeShields — a player whose efficiency has trended down each of the last few seasons — and a pair of rookies who may well end up having excellent careers, but carry far lower potential for the actual 2023 season.
It will be a while before we know whether this offseason was a success for the long-term future of the Wings, but for the 2023 season, I have very little doubt that it will hurt their win total.
The Pick: Under 20.5 Wins (-120, DraftKings)
Atlanta Dream (18.5)
This is my team in 2023. I think they are poised to make a leap. In Tanisha Wright, they have one of the best young coaches in the league — a coach that took an eight-win team and immediately made it a 14-win team. She did so with the help of the Rookie of the Year, Rhyne Howard.
Howard really took off in the second half of the season, averaging 19.4 points per game after the All-Star Break. She is also one of many elite two-way players on a team that is going to absolutely give fits to their opponents. Allisha Gray was one of the most underrated players during her time in Dallas, and if this Atlanta team really pops, she might finally get the spotlight she deserves for her elite two-way play.
One potential lineup move that I would really love to see, and a move that would make this over even more likely, is if Wright makes the move to start third-year player Aari McDonald (moving Danielle Robinson to the sixth woman role as a result). McDonald is electric and averaged 16.0 points and 4.7 assists in her six starts last season.
Even as is, this over is a definite bet for me.
The Pick: Over 18.5 Wins (-113, FanDuel)
Seattle Storm (14.5)
We have reached the end, and that’s fitting because it’s near where the Storm will likely rank in the standings this season.
This is a franchise that has missed the playoffs a grand total of three times in the last 21 seasons, but that sort of excellence may not be there just yet for this iteration of the team after a rather unfortunate series of events. Breanna Stewart left in free agency, Sue Bird retired and Gabby Williams may miss the season due to the W’s new prioritization rules.
This will be a big test for head coach Noelle Quinn, who had a winning first season but also faced questions at times in her first full season steering the ship.
Jewell Lloyd is certainly going to have the opportunity to shine this season, and I think there’s a decent chance she leads the league in scoring, but getting buckets beyond Lloyd is going to be tough. Ezi Magbegor has amazing potential but we need to see it realized in the box score.
This is a team that would be wise to be looking to 2024 and beyond, and with 14.5 wins available at DraftKings compared to 12.5 at the other books, this gives bettors a chance to be on board for that rebuild.
The Pick: Under 14.5 Wins (-115, DraftKings)
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